Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Legalizing Same-Sex Marriages in Canada

By Alexander Samuels

Despite opposition from conservatives and religious groups, Canada's House of Commons yesterday approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. The legislation known as C-38 passed by a margin of 158 to 133. The bill must next make it through the liberal-dominated Senate and is expected to do so. When the bill becomes law, Canada would become . . . the third nation to approve same-sex marriages following the examples of the Netherlands and Belgium.

An Agape Press article from last week reported that Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin was so in favor of this bill, he had vowed to keep Parliament in session until it could be passed.

In that same article, pro-family activist Brian Rushfeldt of the Canada Family Action Coalition pointed out that his research indicated that only about 3,000 homosexual couples, less than 0.05 percent of the total Canadian population, would even take advantage of the law. He told Agape Press, "Of course, they don't want those figures to come out publicly because it is so minute that people are going to [ask] 'Why did we go through all of this for that few Canadians?' There's something wrong with the system that allows that."

Rushfeldt believes that this type of extreme activism by the prime minister demonstrates that the citizens of Canada no longer live in a democracy. He said, "Even the suggestion that we extend Parliament to try and ram through a piece of legislation, such as the Marriage Amendment Act, is nothing short of socialist, dictatorship-style leadership—in fact, it's not leadership at all; it is dictatorship."

Previously, Canada had passed legislation that limits public discussion of homosexual behavior. Canadian law does not allow anyone to publicly speak against homosexual behavior even for religious reasons. In recent months, radio stations that had allowed pastors to speak out on these issues during broadcasts have been heavily fined.

One cannot help but wonder if the United States will eventually pass similar laws. If and when that day comes, will American Christians follow the examples of Peter and John (Acts 4:18-20) and continue to speak out against the homosexual lifestyle even if laws are passed forbidding it?

19 Comments:

At Thursday, June 30, 2005 12:26:00 AM, Blogger Roch101 said...

Which is more accurate?

"Canadian law does not allow anyone to publicly speak against homosexual behavior even for religious reasons."

OR

Canadian law prohibits the boradcast of slurs against protected minorities.

 
At Thursday, June 30, 2005 8:57:00 AM, Blogger Mickey McLean said...

To be more precise, Canadian law does not permit the preaching of the perils of this particular sin. It is neither hate nor a slur to simply hold people accountable to the Word of God. Roch, am I to infer from your comment that you would advocate laws that would censor what a person can say in public based on their beliefs?

 
At Thursday, June 30, 2005 9:37:00 AM, Blogger Roch101 said...

Hi Mickey,

No, indeed I would not advocate for laws that censor what a person can say in public, with the exception of threats, slander, etc. What I was saying is that you were and continue to exaggerate the restrictions of Canadian law. As far as I can tell, that law applies to broadcasters only, applies to slurs only and says nothing about religious beliefs. I think you are, once again, disengenuously trying to paint the Christians as targeted and persecuted. That is especially ironic since it is your perspective that would actually target and persecute a group of people.

 
At Thursday, June 30, 2005 10:24:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Roch, I'm pretty sure that a preacher in a Canadian church cannot tell the congregation that homosexuality is a sin. Perhaps you were including them in your category of broadcasters- not sure.

And you seem fine with that. Is this not a slippery slope to you? I would dare say that murderers and thieves are in fewer numbers than gays. Are they to be protected? What about atheists? Are they not a minority?

Should Canadian preachers and even broadcasters not be able to advise the rest of the general public not to become part of that group? Why should they be free of condemnation when it is perfectly okay for them to spew whatever they wish at the majority?

Such protections elevate them to a superior class- which they are not. And if you are a separation of church and state kinda guy, would you not be very upset to know that a government would dictate what a preacher can or cannot preach?

I know they have a different constitution but would you be okay with that happening here?

the Heckler

 
At Thursday, June 30, 2005 11:17:00 AM, Anonymous Alex Samuels said...

Do you think we have legal struggles with our judges here in the United States over the meaning of various parts of the constitution? Canada’s Human Rights Act is a liberal judge’s dream come true. This law can be appealed to if anyone from a “protected” minority feels hurt or discomfort because someone makes derisive or unsympathetic statements in a local letter to the editor (as one psychologist found out when he stated in a letter that he believed homosexuality was a treatable psychological disorder). This law is so vague in its wording that it can basically mean whatever the sitting Tribunal decides. Private schools in Canada have been sued based on their refusal to use pro-homosexual texts because of the schools’ religious stance. In one case a school was told they could not use their religious beliefs to determine if a text would be used or not.

 
At Thursday, June 30, 2005 11:56:00 AM, Blogger Mickey McLean said...

Roch, you say this Candian law only applies to slurs, but in these cases the sincerely expressed religious beliefs of Christians are being incorrectly interpreted as slurs. And as a Christian, I am neither trying to target or persecute anyone. I'm only wanting to protect my right and the right of other Christians to be able to freely articulate beliefs that are based on the Bible.

 
At Thursday, June 30, 2005 12:08:00 PM, Blogger Roch101 said...

I see a lot of "I'm pretty sure" and "in these cases" but no specifics. Anybody have anything other than unsubstantiated rhetoric to support their claims?

"I am neither trying to target or persecute anyone." No, Mickey, you are indeed advocating for limiting the legal rights of a certain group, thereby targeting and persecuting them. Not very Christ-like.

 
At Thursday, June 30, 2005 12:38:00 PM, Anonymous Alex Samuels said...

roch101,

According to your last comment, it appears that you are saying that Mickey is not being very "Christlike" over this issue. Are you a Christian?

 
At Thursday, June 30, 2005 12:45:00 PM, Blogger Roch101 said...

"Are you a Christian?"

Aside from diverting attention away from the points I made, why does it matter?

 
At Thursday, June 30, 2005 1:19:00 PM, Blogger Mickey McLean said...

OK, Roch, here are some examples:

From http://www.nationalreview.com/comment
/bernstein200312020910.asp:

. . . it has apparently become illegal in Canada to advocate traditional Christian opposition to homosexual sex. For example, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission ordered the Saskatoon Star Phoenix and Hugh Owens to each pay $1,500 to each of three gay activists as damages for publication of an advertisement, placed by Owens, which conveyed the message that the Bible condemns homosexual acts.

In another incident, after Toronto print-shop owner Scott Brockie refused on religious grounds to print letterhead for a gay-activist group, the local human-rights commission ordered him to pay the group $5,000, print the requested material, and apologize to the group's leaders. Brockie, who always accepted print jobs from individual gay customers, and even did pro-bono work for a local AIDS group, is fighting the decision on religious-freedom grounds.


And from http://www.canadianchristianity.com/cgi-bin/na.cgi?nationalupdates/050616kempling

THE B.C. COURT of Appeals has upheld the B.C. Supreme Court's ruling that Chris Kempling committed "conduct unbecoming of a teacher" by publicly expressing his disapproval of homosexuality outside of a school context. The court handed down its decision June 13.

The BC College of Teachers suspended Kempling because it said the opinions expressed in his writings, mostly letters to the editor of a local newspaper, would have an impact in the school. The Quesnel public school counselor, a Christian, is currently driving a dump truck to pay the bills while he serves a separate suspension for a letter he wrote about the Christian Heritage Party objecting to Bill C-38, the federal government's same-sex marriage bill.

 
At Thursday, June 30, 2005 1:22:00 PM, Anonymous Alex Samuels said...

roch101,

You diverted attention from the argument the moment you started judging Mickey's personal character in relation to the discussion. If Mickey is not being "Christlike," I'm trying to determine if you believe you are being "Christlike" from your point of view. I simply went to the heart of the matter by asking, "Are you a Christian?"

You see, I am a Christian and I think it helps other people to have that information when we are debating a particular point of view. They know where I'm coming from. I was just wondering where you are "coming from?" But, if it doesn't matter to you. . . Why bring up the point about Mickey's "Christlikeness?"

 
At Thursday, June 30, 2005 3:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait a minute! Roch says:

"No, Mickey, you are indeed advocating for limiting the legal rights of a certain group, thereby targeting and persecuting them. Not very Christ-like."

Canadian judges are telling churches and other entities which parts of the Bible they are not allowed to mention and Roch doesn't consider this targeting and persecution??????????????
Was that a joke Roch?

But to answer your question, Roch, YES!!!! it is VERY Christ-like to reference the Bible. Christ did so, often.

the Heckler

 
At Thursday, June 30, 2005 3:57:00 PM, Blogger Roch101 said...

Whoo, boy. Where to begin? First of all, I was not aware of the extent of the Canadian laws. After lunching with a pastor who has family and professional ties to Canada and after reading Mickey's sources, I admit, I underestimated the reach of Canada's laws. I appreciate the education.

Still, as Mickey's sources note, these laws are squelching free speech across the political spectrum and are by no means targeting just religious people or religious speech. So I still don't buy the assertion that the Heckler makes that churches are being targeted for persecution. It's not a anti-religous issue.

Also, anyone familiar with my professional activities will hopefully have some indication of where I stand on free expression. In a nut shell, the more the better. Of course, I wonder if the commenters here remain such strong advocates for free speech when the speech in question does not align with their views. Perhaps that's another discussion.

To Alex who wants to know my religious beliefs, I was not judging Mickey's "personal character." I had said that advocating for discrimination is not very Christ-like; questioning a position, not character -- a big difference.

Since Mickey claims to advocate from a Christian perspective, it's very legitimate to note when he is not remaining true to his fundemntal principles. Since my comments were not grounded in a religious perspective, it's irrelevant to know my religion. But, if you want to know where I'm coming from, I'm coming from a point of view that cherishes the fundemantal legal foundations of America.

 
At Thursday, June 30, 2005 4:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Roch,

I appreciate your candor!

While I did speak of religious concerns, I'm not limiting it to that, either. I'm concerned for everybody up there including the media who is limited in what they can say. I simply believe that the most outrageuos situation involves the government reaching into a church.

No one should be silenced and no one protected from words or debate. Protected groups would be elevated. Once elevated, they are free to become pro-active and militant- after all, you cannot criticize them- so they must be right.

As it pertains to homosexuality; first it is wrong, then it becomes an alternative lifestyle, then it becomes cool. Next it will be a choice that one should make only after experimentation. I know not many gays would go to that extent but the militant faction is another story.

What is happening up there is scary and just too, too close to home.

the Heckler

 
At Thursday, June 30, 2005 4:45:00 PM, Anonymous Alex said...

roch101,

You said: "No, Mickey, you are indeed advocating for limiting the legal rights of a certain group, thereby targeting and persecuting them. Not very Christ-like."

You also said: "Since Mickey claims to advocate from a Christian perspective, it's very legitimate to note when he is not remaining true to his fundemntal principles."

You are saying that it is legitimate for you to note when Mickey is not being true to his [Christian] fundamental principles. I just wonder what qualifications you have to judge whether Mickey is being true to those fundamental principles. You will not comment on your religious faith, but can I assume you've read the Bible at least once? For all I know, I may be having a discussion with a Christian minister who is well-schooled in the principles of the Christian faith.

 
At Thursday, June 30, 2005 4:58:00 PM, Blogger Mickey McLean said...

In case you missed it, Spain today joined Canada, the Netherlands and Belgium by legalizing same-sex marriages (http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2005/06/30/spain-marriage050630.html via Ed Cone).

BTW, Roch, I wanted to let you know that I'm glad you're stopping by here and commenting. You're welcome any time. Plus, I appreciate what you are doing with Greensboro101.com. Your site has driven a lot of traffic to Carolina Christian Conservative, and I appreciate that. And I bet I know what pastor you had lunch with. (I can't seem to get him to have lunch with me!) Also, I had a nice chat with your dad on the phone a few weeks ago. He's a neighbor of a good friend of mine. Take care.

 
At Thursday, June 30, 2005 6:52:00 PM, Blogger Joe Guarino said...

This is not merely a theoretical concern over what may happen in Canadian churches. This type of retributional approach toward those who exercise free speech is happening in America.

Just within the last week, it was reported that an Allstate Insurance Co. executive had written on online article on the topic. This occurred entirely outside of his job duties, on his own time, outside of the workplace. Someone complained, and he got fired. His name is J. Matt Barber. He is now being represented by the Christian Law Association; and a federal lawsuit has been filed against Allstate.

An article describing the above is at www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=44961.

We cannot presume that free speech and religious speech will be protected when a cultural agenda is pursued and widely adopted with an unusual passion that minimizes the importance of these rights.

 
At Friday, July 01, 2005 8:01:00 AM, Anonymous Alex Samuels said...

Joe,

You are absolutely right. There is a political/cultural agenda that is being promoted by the ACLU and well-financed political lobbying efforts to erode freedom of speech and religion in the United States. The results of which will be to undermine whatever moral standards our country once possessed.

Since the conversation seems to have died down, I would like to thank everyone who has participated. Your comments and arguments are what freedom of speech and religion are all about. Web sites have been closed down by the Canadian government for having similar discussions.

 
At Monday, July 04, 2005 11:53:00 AM, Blogger Roch101 said...

Hi Folks,

Sorry I dropped out of this conversation prematurely. I got busy. I just want to say thanks to Mickey for the welcome. I think "talking" like this will promote a greater understanding among members of our community and I appreciate Mickey's willingness to engage in such discussions.

I'm sure we'll be sharing our thoughts with each other again in the future and I look forward to it.

 

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